CNN: Wind Tops Coal in Texas in 3 out of 6 Months in 2019

Guest Fake News analysis by David Middleton

The USA Today version of this non-story was even dumber than CNN’s version…

Wind is outpacing coal as a power source in Texas for the first time

By Ryan Prior, CNN
Updated 6:24 PM ET, Thu July 25, 2019

(CNN) Wind power has surpassed coal for the first time in Texas, according to a new report.

The numbers cap an enormous rise in wind power in the nation’s top energy-producing state over the past decades.

Wind has generated 22% of the state’s electrical needs this year. It just edged out coal, which provided 21% of the Lone Star State’s power, according to the Electrical Reliability Council of Texas, which manages electrical flow on about 90% of the Texan grid.

[…]

Yet while wind has soared and coal-generated power has cooled, natural gas still accounts for the largest share of the state’s energy mix, generating 46% of its power in 2003 and staying strong at 44% last year.

[…]

New Jersey’s largest and oldest power company, PSEG, announced Thursday that it’s pledging to go carbon-free by 2050.

“We believe climate change is real. There is this crescendo that’s building,” CEO Ralph Izzo told CNN Business.

Darth Vader: This is CNN

Almost all of these energy “journalists” show up on LinkedIn as 3rd Connections… Young Ryan is the first to show up as 2nd Connection. This means he’s connected to at least one person connected to me… Scary. Ryan has a 2012 BA in English and International Affairs from the Univesrity of Georgia.

The ERCOT report didn’t mention anything about wind topping coal and certainly didn’t refer to CNN’s fake news from yesterday about PSEG. It’s an Excel spreadsheet ERCOT periodically issues. From January through June, 2019, wind power generated 21.8% of ERCOT’s electricity and coal generated 21.4%.

Clearly these intrepid energy “journalists” were capable of doing just enough math to get to their breathless headlines… But, “you can’t fix stupid.”

Wind topped coal for the Jan-Jun period entirely due to the fact that April was very windy, as it usually is.

Wind works fairly well in Texas for exactly one reason: Physical geography.

Figure 2. Texas 80-Meter Wind Resource Map (NREL)

There’s just one slight problem here: Wind is seasonal.

Figure 3. Wind generation seasonal patterns vary across the United States (EIA)

No matter how many unicorn wishes are made, wind will probably not beat coal in Texas over the rest of the year. I downloaded EROT’s 2018 Demand and Energy Report. Here’s a comparison of wind generation in 2018 vs 2019.

Figure 4. July through November aren’t that windy in Texas.

Coal averaged just over 6,300 MWh/month from January through June and coal output actually climbs when “the winds don’t blow”…

Figure 5. 2018 Demand and Energy Report (ERCOT)

Young Ryan earns a Bob Uecker “Just a bit outside” award for his intrepid reporting…

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161 thoughts on “CNN: Wind Tops Coal in Texas in 3 out of 6 Months in 2019

  1. I live on South Padre Island. We have a number of turbines located just inland of the Laguna Madre. I have to wonder how well these will handle the next real hurricane, which is only a matter of time.

    • The Texas Gulf Coast turbines actually do better in the months when the Llano Estacado resource “dries up.” As long as they feather the blades, they’ll probably hold up OK. Texas is one of the few places where wind actually makes sense from a resource economics perspective.

      • Wow. Did you see the pictures of the wind farms in Puerto Rico after the hurricanes came through? It was total devastation. Those blades were snapped right off. If I remember correctly, a few towers collapsed as well. One whole wind farm got completely trashed. I do not think a simple blade replacement is going to help. All the load bearing areas all around the drive shafts must have been stressed way above safety ratings during the event. These are the weak points in the turbines anyway. I will bet you a cup of coffee that the turbines get scrapped or replaced (at your expense), but *not* rebuilt.

        • The severity of the hurricane is definitely a factor… and Texas isn’t Puerto Rico.

          • Ike was a Cat 4; it flooded Galveston and devastated Gulf of Mexico oil & gas production as bad as Rita & Katrina… we recovered… and it wasn’t easy.

      • Open range that mitigates the Green Blight factor, which is presumably a motive to pack people into high density population centers, deny arable land to farms, and grasslands to grazers. Not particularly environmentally friendly, and very green.

      • In the coming (???) post subsidy era Texas as the biggest green generator is going to have the biggest clean-up problem when these turbines and solar panels come to the end of there useful life (15-20 years). Without the PTC or some price floor guarantee large capacity solar and wind is not economic. There generating capacity is highest during the day, mostly when least needed and this drives the electricity price down to low levels, sometimes below zero. You can’t recover costs when you are giving the power away for nothing, hence without a PTC these projects will come to an abrupt and sad ending. God Bless Texas!

        • Fortunately, we don’t have much solar power here. However, all energy sources have a “P&A” liability. Nothing built by people has an infinite service life.

          • The 1944-built, 110MW coal unit where I worked ran until 2016 when shut down due to (mostly) the clean air act. No major upgrades other than an electrostatic precipitator added in the mid-70s.

          • Properly maintained coal-fired plants can last over 100 years… unless they are regulated out of business.

        • Wind turbines last indefinitely and require vastly less maintenance than the vastly more complex thermal plants. They are extremely simple machines with very few moving parts.

          And you have it totally ass backwards – peak electrical power demand is always during the daylight hours, not nighttime.

          • Ignorant much?

            Peak demand is in the early evening, the more solar added to the grid, the worse the duck curve gets…

            High solar adoption creates a challenge for utilities to balance supply and demand on the grid. This is due to the increased need for electricity generators to quickly ramp up energy production when the sun sets and the contribution from PV falls.

            https://www.energy.gov/eere/articles/confronting-duck-curve-how-address-over-generation-solar-energy

            Wind turbines typically have an effective service life of about 20 years…

            In 2016, 12% of the installed wind turbine capacity in Europe was older than 15 years. This share increases to 28% by 2020 [1]. These wind turbines will soon reach the end of their designed service life, which is typically 20 years.

            https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032117313503

            Like all power plants, the better performing ones can undergo service life extension programs… but the the design life is about 20 years.

            The maintenance costs (fixed O&M) are almost 10× that of natural gas cc plants…

          • Duane

            Wind turbines last indefinitely and require vastly less maintenance than the vastly more complex thermal plants. They are extremely simple machines with very few moving parts.

            Wrong. Wind turbines require more frequent routine maintenance than the average fossil or nuclear power plant, but maintenance outage is generally shorter. Problem is, maintenance money, spare and replacement parts, and crane service funds are NO part of the subsidies taxpayers spend every time for windmill construction and the on-going rate subsidies spent while they run. Maintenance money comes from the operating company budget, and (typically) is below the bottom of their budget priorities. Windmill lifetimes are advertised at 15-25 years, but few have been running that long. Altamont Pass is notorious for having 1/3 or more of its old windmills lie in place as ugly, abandoned eyesores. Even current (2000 – 2016 construction) “older” windfarms have 20-25% of their machines stopped.

            And you have it totally ass backwards – peak electrical power demand is always during the daylight hours, not nighttime.

            Also wrong. Peak electric happens much LATER in the afternoon than the peal local solar production (noon, every day – and much lower in the six winter months than across the summer months.) A second “morning hump” in electric demand occurs earlier every day well BEFORE the solar maximum at noon.

            0 for 2 there.

          • To paraphrase how one of our engineers described the turbines when we were prepping a bid for Enron Wind, it’s like a D9 tractor on a long pole. Needless to say, the maintenance requirements are not trivial. And the long pole adds to that.

          • Put that pole-mounted tractor on an offshore platform and you double the maintenance costs.

        • I think you’d find that in most places, the electricity demand and wholesale price is highest during the day, and lowest at night.
          Source ieso.ca, aeso, UK demand.

          Most electricity is not used in homes. It’s industrial and commercial use that drives daytime demand, and solar can provide some of that, obviously not all.

          Wind is pretty much random and often higher at night. It can stretch hydro reservoir capacity, especially in a dry year.

          Rooftop silicon solar panels probably outlast any asphalt shingle (25-50 years) and are routinely recycled. I would think that wind turbines would be scrapped for metal and plastic salvage, just as home appliances or vehicles are. I would hope they’re worth at least maintaining once credits expire, but finding complete financial and performance data on an actual running wind farm seems difficult.

          • Good fracking grief! Demand in Texas is highest from late afternoon through early evening, when people are generally getting home from work.

            ercot demand

            California is even more skewed towards the early evening…
            cal demand
            https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/for-data-lovers-hourly-grid-operating-information-is-now-available-from-the-eia/

            Right when solar output is falling off.

            https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=16851

            This causes the “Duck Curve”, which worsens, with each MW of solar added to the grid.

          • It isn’t strictly correct that the highest use is at night, if the daytime peak is 50 and the nightly minimum is 30. And the daytime ramp-up starts a 9 AM when some people are *leaving* home, and getting to work,

            Surely some of that power can come from solar, is all I’m saying. Not all of it, obvously, and any cost savings is in fuel use, not plant size.

          • I never said the highest use was at night.

            Solar ramps up till about noon and then ramps down into evening.

            Demand ramps up from late morning to early evening, peaking when solar is dropping off the grid. The more solar in the grid, the worse this gets. The evening ramp usually has to be filled by natural gas peaker plants, which, unlike combined cycle, are among the most expensive generating sources.

          • Yes, early evening is the peak, not night time. The ramp starts in the morning, so some of that can be provided by solar PV.

            Obviously not all power can come from solar, the savings is in fuel use, not in peak load reduction.

    • I tried to insert a photo from Puerto Rico post hurricane of the wind farm on the east end. All turbines smashed. We observed as we sailed in from Bonaire in March 2019. I believe only cat 3 on landfall here but a total wipe out. The cost of this farm could have installed a significant diesel sub station that would still be running.

      Try the link or look it up.

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AAv-ocWnCZo

      Use this search on google
      wind turbines puerto rico destroyed by hurricane

      • Maybe so, but the electricity generated for a couple hours surpassed coal for …like… 6 months or so.

        • It really is a big, So what? If anything,it points out, loud and clear exactly why the notion of becoming 100% reliant on intermittent, weather reliant energy sources, is such a foolish idea. Nothing sustainable about them.

          Eamon

          • Fortunately, only the Greenpeace cultists write ‘plans’ showing 100% renewable power, often citing that one clear spring day in Germany, or the windy month in Texas, or a warm day in Norway.

            I think the Aermotor company is over 100 years old, and the Wincharger people did alright before WW2. So we know that some wind power is steady and reliable enough for some jobs.

            But obviously no aluminum plant is running on Solar and Wind.

  2. I always thought that if you had more than about 16% of your capacity as wind, it would make the grid unstable.

    I wonder how much of the time the other generators were fueled and running but not supplying current to the grid. I wonder how that is paid for.

    The Hollywood entertainment industry is famous for its accounting practices. I have to suspect the same applies to accounting for wind power.

    • Texas has a sufficient wind resource to support a larger share… We also have enough coal, natural gas and nuclear to cover base load, when the wind doesn’t cooperate.

      • Do the systems have the capability to reduce spinning backup based on predicting wind consistency over some period of time? Otherwise, raising wind capacity just raises the amount of backup just spinning.

        • Last time I looked at ERCOT’s rules in detail… All of the generators are supposed to report what they can deliver on the next day, at what price. ERCOT picks what they think they’ll need. If you’re picked and you can’t deliver, you have to pay for the replacement… except for wind. Wind didn’t incur a penalty for failing to deliver. I don’t know if that’s changed.

      • It looks like it’s mostly the natural gas that makes wind feasible as a power source – you can see from the graphs the clear inverse relationship between the two.

        • The average residential electricity rate in Texas is lower now than it was in 2008.

          Wind is certainly “crap” in places where municipal utility companies signed stupid contracts, like Georgetown.

          • David Middleton writes: “The average residential electricity rate in Texas is lower now than it was in 2008.”

            Wow. Written with a straight face too I’ll bet. Time to dig into my records …

          • The average Texas electricity rate (all sectors) in 2008 was 10.99¢/kWh.

            In 2017 it was 8.38¢/kWh.

            In May 2019 it was 8.57¢/kWh.

            The average residential rate was 13.04¢/kWh in 2008. In May 2019 it was 12.06¢/kWh

            When the decisions were made to build out wind power in Texas, natural gas wasn’t cheap or plentiful.

            We were building LNG import terminals in the early 2000’s. The Shale Revolution led to most of those being converted into LNG export terminals.

          • re David Middleton: “The average Texas electricity rate (all sectors) in 2008 was 10.99¢/kWh.”

            Goof ball, that does not include 3 to 4 c per kWh DELIVERY CHARGE* we now pay (are you REALLY going to play this game, and strive to be this disingenuous?) You’re not REALLY this thick, are you?

            *And other misc charges.

            Do YOU have any bills from that era?

            (Whatanidiot.)

          • Yes it does. The delivery charge has always been part of your bill. Prior to deregulation, it was all paid to TPL, TXU, etc. Since deregulation, the delivery portion gets paid to Oncor and the electricity portion goes to whoever your provider is.

            You really need to learn how to read. Maybe the pictures confused you.

            The average Texas electricity rate (all sectors) in 2008 was 10.99¢/kWh.

            In 2017 it was 8.38¢/kWh.

            In May 2019 it was 8.57¢/kWh.

            The average residential rate was 13.04¢/kWh in 2008. In May 2019 it was 12.06¢/kWh

            The all sectors average is lower because commercial and industrial rates are lower than residential rates.

            The state also made smart policy decisions, according to the report. In 2005, Texas chose to get ahead of renewable energy development by creating Competitive Renewable Energy Zones, where transmission lines were extended to help support wind power development in isolated regions of the state.

            https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/How-Texas-blew-to-the-top-in-wind-power-12529917.php

            While the smartness of the policy decisions is debatable, they didn’t drive up the cost of electricity in Texas, like they did in the People’s Republic of California.

    • I remember driving in to Amarillo from OK on the interstate into the wind. I couldn’t get my VW Camper to go over 40 MPH…so I turned around and went the other way, and I got up to 80 MPH just to see if there was something wrong with the car. . . lol
      It was just the wind…also I saw the other cars would just blast through the tumbleweeds while I was dodging them. So I tried that, and got a big dent on the front of my camper from a tumbleweed . . .

    • The share of wind is not a problem to the grid because the rotating generation is producing good sinus. Too much solar is the problem because the sinus is created electronically and not useful to control the grid

    • I’ve read that some natural gas turbines can be physically disconnected from the turbine and used as a rotary capacitor for grid stabilisation when not needed for generation. So technically there’s a part that spins, but it’s not burning fuel all night. And there’s a big clutch.

      Combined Cycle plants can load follow in a range, I would imagine any plant is most efficient within a range.

  3. David, it is not exactly fake news. The wind did supply more of TX power than coal – so what? As a rate payer, my question is – will I have to pay more?

    • It’s fake news because it’s like saying that the guy who hit the most homeruns on Sundays in April surpassed Babe Ruth on Sunday’s in April.

    • Precisely.
      It’s true as it stands, but it’s not a complete analysis. Hardly what one calls fake.

      Incomplete picture would be better, but daves notion of fake is fake

      • That’s the definition of fake *news*.

        Fake news is a neologism[1][19][21] often used to refer to fabricated news. This type of news, found in traditional news, social media[1] or fake news websites, has no basis in fact, but is presented as being factually accurate.[22]

        Michael Radutzky, a producer of CBS 60 Minutes, said his show considers fake news to be “stories that are probably false, have enormous traction [popular appeal] in the culture, and are consumed by millions of people.”

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fake_news#Definition

        Similar fake news reports about wind overtaking [fill in the blank] in Texas date back to at least 2017. CNN at least didn’t conflate energy with electricity, like USA Today did.

        • Reminds me of all the trade rag stories I read in the late 80’s which showed graphs and charts and trends all of which proved that “this year installed base of token ring stations will overtake installed base of ethernet stations”. Funny thing, but the projected moment for token ring supremacy kept moving further out into the future. As I recall that went on for several years and then not too long after twisted pair ethernet hit the market those stories sort of faded away.

          They are correct that coal-fired power generation in the US is declining; they are absolutely wrong about the reason.

  4. It’s a common theme, coal that needs a predictable demand pattern to be economic is being made artificially uneconomic due to the intrusion of subsidised intermittent wind that is competitive when it is blowing, take away subsidies and tax credits for wind and it would be a different story.

    • Yeah… But wind works OK in Texas, so far, and isn’t really all that disruptive… at its current market penetration.

      • Yes but it is still be subsidized by federal credit initial, guarantees of profit, and preferential rules. Take away those and wind dies on the vine.

        • In Texas, wind might barely work without those subsidies… because the State invested in transmission lines out of West Texas. It’s a resource.

          • re: “… transmission lines … It’s a resource.”

            AND we pay for it; look at your bill, it is an itemized charge. The power producers aren’t paying for it – for the privilege of selling you power – YOU are paying for THEIR highway to sell YOU their wind power (that is the way I view it; “Change my mind” as the saying goes!)

            A “delivery charge” amounting to 3 to 4 cents per kWh thereabouts, this charge was authorized by the Texas PUC a few years back … I “chased this to ground” when the charge first appeared on my bill as I wasn’t going to pay it UNTIL I was satisfied it was legally warranted.

          • Before deregulation, TXU was the only game in town in the DFW area. Now we can choose between multiple electric utilities… but there’s only one delivery system. In the DFW area, Oncor gets a chunk of the bill to maintain the transmission sytem, but our overall electricity rates are right around the national average and our taxes are relatively low, apart from property taxes in places like Dallas… which mostly go to DISD (failed public schools).

            Before deregulation, TXU was the only game in town. Now we can choose between multiple electric utilities… but there’s only one delivery system.

          • Before deregulation, TXU was the only game in town in the DFW area. Now we can choose between multiple electric utilities… but there’s only one delivery system. In the DFW area, Oncor gets a chunk of the bill to maintain the transmission sytem, but our overall electricity rates are right around the national average and our taxes are relatively low, apart from property taxes in places like Dallas… which mostly go to DISD (failed public schools).

            Before deregulation, TXU was the only game in town. Now we can choose between multiple electric utilities… but there’s only one delivery system.

            Complete side-step of the point and an un-needed re-hash of history (for me), plus you missed an part of the history (maybe you weren’t here yet?): TXU evolved from TPL – Texas Power and Light. For several years, after the name change, I continued to use the TPL name on payments just to be difficult; the checks were always cashed.

            Full name-change/lineage: TP&L became TU Electric (Texas Utilities Electric Company) in the 1984 timeframe for a few years, then finally TXU (1999). I think I still have the bills from the TP&L days …

            Back onto the point, I’ll simply cut and paste from my previous post:

            re: “… transmission lines … It’s a resource.”

            AND we pay for it; look at your bill, it is an itemized charge. The power producers aren’t paying for it – for the privilege of selling you power – YOU are paying for THEIR highway to sell YOU their wind power (that is the way I view it; “Change my mind” as the saying goes!)

            Note the embedded “Change my mind”.

          • I was a TPL customer before it became TXU… and I worked for Enserch Exploration from 1981-1997. Enserch and Lone Star Gas were both subsidiaries of Enserch Corporation, which was acquired by TXU a couple of years after I left Enserch.

            Before deregulation, your entire electricity bill, before taxes, went to TXU. Now it’s split between whatever provider you choose and Oncor.

            TXU, Reliant, Oncor, etc. are businesses they build, expand and maintain the grid and deliver electricity for a profit.

          • re: “Before deregulation, your entire electricity bill, before taxes, went to TXU. Now it’s split between whatever provider you choose and Oncor.”

            Unnecessary rehash; We’ve been through that.

            re: “TXU, Reliant, Oncor, etc. are businesses they build, expand and maintain the grid and deliver electricity for a profit.”

            Rehash; see above.

            Address the fact we are charged for wind-power’s HV transmission ‘highway’ back to Dallas from west Texas, the main reason why the separate itemized delivery charge now exists on our bills.

            We are billed, all of of us, for the cost of the HV transmission facilities from west Texas to the ‘load centers’ (ever heard that term before?) on the eastern side of the state, moreover, these HV transmission facilities were built for the wind-power folks so they can transact ‘bidness’, and transact that ‘bidness’ on our dime (‘our dime’ being the COST of those HV transmission facilities from west Texas to the ‘load centers’ on the eastern side of the state.)

            Economically, we would be better off without wind power. We would be better off with local (eastern side of the state) generation using coal and nat gas (and don’t forget Comanche Peak/nuclear!) versus wind power whose energy must be transported using expensive HV transmission facilities.

            NOT ONLY THAT, but, Oncor has had to construct a large (I think it is the largest) static VAR facility in the Dallas area, on account of looong transmission lines to wind farms in west Texas do nothing for reactive power compensation.

          • We’ve always been charged for transmission costs. They’ve never been free. They were building, expanding and maintaining the transmission capacity long before the folks in Austin decided that it would be a good idea to exploit the wind resource in West Texas.

            The itemization is there because instead of just paying TXU, you’re now paying your chosen provider and Oncor.

            We actually have to deal with reality. Pollution regulations made new coal-fired power plants noncompetitive before the Obama maladministration tried to impose a carbon capture requirement on them. This also made it prohibitively expensive to retro-fit some older coal-fired power plants to bring them up to code. Most, if not all, of those air pollution regulations aren’t going to be reversed. Wind, with the Federal investment and production tax credits, is much less expensive than new coal-fired power plants. Fortunately, in Texas, our wind resource is fairly predictable and we have enough coal-fired generation and nuclear power to provide a big chunk of the base load. We also have enough natural gas generation to fill out the base load and meet demand surges.

            Without the subsidies for wind & solar, nothing but natural gas-fired power plants would get built in Texas… and would make Texas too reliant on natural gas… It would also drive up natural gas prices, which would be good for me because I find oil & gas for a living. But it wouldn’t be good for the electricity grid.

            Much as I wished we had a purely laissez-faire economic system, with no government intervention, we don’t. We live in the real world, where government makes rules that we have to operate under.

          • To make matters worse, my understanding is that the power distribution company gets to add these assets to the base on which their profit target is determined. In other words, the more assets, the bigger their profit. So they participate in the scheme as it is in their best interests. NOT so much for their rate payers.

          • re: SVCs – Static VAR Compensators

            From: https://www.transmissionhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/EEI-report-Mar-27-2014.pdf

            Static Var Compensation

            Description: Oncor has deployed the world’s largest cluster of Static Var Compensators
            (SVCs) in the north Texas area, adding to the reliability of Oncor’s grid. This technology will
            maintain grid reliability in the urban environment as generators are retired and not replaced.
            Additionally, 3 SVC projects are being installed as part of the CREZ initiative.

            Cost: More than $50 million per site.

            Status: A total of four SVC projects are currently in-service at Oncor. The first unit was
            operational in Dallas in June 2009; a second unit was placed in service in December 2010,
            and two additional units were placed in service in early 2011. Currently three SVC projects are
            in progress as part of the CREZ initiative with expected in service during the first quarter 2014.

            nvestment Partners: None.

            Benefits: SVC technology will help in controlling voltage and rapidly responding to changes in
            grid conditions. SVC provides the needed voltage control without the need for generation close
            to population centers. It will also accommodate for the future use of wind power and other
            forms of remote and renewable energy generation.

            —————————————

            Bottom line: SVCs are required to be added to the system as a requirement for having so much wind so far away and coupled with the reduction of standard rotary (spinning) generation assets close-in to the load (population) centers.

          • re: “To make matters worse, my understanding is that the power distribution company gets to add these assets to the base on which their profit target is determined. In other words, the more assets, the bigger their profit. So they participate in the scheme as it is in their best interests. NOT so much for their rate payers.”

            Exactly. We are looked at as a source of revenue, not exactly customers even, but as a source of revenue that can be ‘plucked’ indefinitely. One of the Hunt brothers has tried this with what used to be an electric cooperative he bought out here in NE Texas, and the rates went through the roof. Sharyland Electric (or Utilities) is the company name, owned by Ray L. Hunt.

            https://www.texastribune.org/2015/10/21/report-shows-fewer-electricity-complaints/

            Fair use Excerpt:

            Another highlight of this year’s data: a nearly tenfold spike in complaints against Sharyland Utilities. Though the company, owned by the family of Ray L. Hunt, serves just 50,000 customers in small patches of rural West and North Texas, it has gained attention amid Hunt’s $18 billion bid to take control of Oncor, in a move that could hold huge implications for ratepayers and the electric grid.

            To save on federal income taxes, Hunt wants to reorganize Oncor into a “real estate investment trust,” as he did with Sharyland. That would essentially divide the utility into two companies: one owning the assets (power lines, trucks and transformers, for instance), while the other rented the equipment, operated it and dealt with customers.

            The unorthodox structure, more commonly used for shopping malls and elsewhere in the real estate world, would help Oncor borrow money at lower rates, proponents say, which could ultimately translate into lower electric rates for customers. But it’s nearly unprecedented in the energy world, making some consumer advocates nervous.

            Hunt has pointed to Sharyland, a power and transmission provider, as evidence that the structure can work.

            But Wednesday’s report documented 437 complaints in 2015 against the utility, up from just 47 in the year before. Most involved rates and bill charges. The coalition did not analyze reasons for the spike.

          • @ OldRetiredGuy July 27, 2019 at 7:49 am
            Most, if not all, states in the USA have a Public Utility Commission that approve all rate increases and limit company profit to between 5 and 6 %. [Find out what your state does.]
            Now, if you had several hundred thousand dollars why would you invest it in a company that only earned 6% per year and never any more, and easily and often less than 3%? I am no financial wizard but the investments I made 40 years ago averaged well over 12% over the duration. And since I worked for an Electric Utility, ten years of that was at the Lowly 4% average that my company was earning – INCLUDING dividends. That is why i seeked advice and got some more aggressive mutual funds.
            Yes, having more equipment – investment – means mor profit BUT the percent profit is the same – the lowest of most companies in business.
            And, the control of those VARs are very important – that is if you want electricity. As soon you will be in an area with greater than 30% Renewables [like my service provider is] and be subject to the problem of rapidly fluctuating VARs and the sudden loss of power on sunny days. Hopefully your provider will buy them.

  5. Wind, being heavily subsidized, is the low cost producer, after tax incentives. The grid takes all it will produce to maximize profits (and this means high costs for the end user, who pays for the subsidies) Nuclear is based loaded at its maximum rated output power. Combined cycle natural gas plants are the low cost produces, due to their high thermal efficiency. Coal will be spun up after the other renewables take their bit. Natural gas that is, not combined cycle is easy to spin up next to handle the peaking. Subsidies drive what is used. When the wind subsidies expired under Obama, wind generation dropped 50% the next year. After congress created new subsidies for new installations, the President got to brag the next year that wind power had doubled the prior year. A fact, but it was at a lower level than two years prior. And the wind turbines in the old field in California stayed idle, until their removal. The old installation’s subsidies had ran out.

    • “Combined cycle natural gas plants are the low cost” because there is an over supply of NG from all of the fracking to get OIL!!!!
      What happens when it gets so cheap they can not sell enough to pay for drilling for and fracking for OIL?

      • The capital costs of building natural gas power plants are low enough, that gas prices could significantly rise and the LCOE would still be low.

      • The gas gets flared when that occurs. Permian Basin natural gas prices occasionally are below $0.00/mcf.

    • “…Ryan has a 2012 BA in English and International Affairs from the Univesrity of Georgia.”

      All that means is that Ryan can read and find Mexico on a map. 60 percent of urban high school graduates have an 8th grade reading proficiency and can’t pinpoint the city they live in without google maps.

      • He was smart enough to come up with a headline from a spreadsheet that said nothing about wind outpacing coal.

  6. Aren’t grid operators compelled to take the wind generated electricity?

    Distribution based on political decisions, not cost. When wind is NOT available, they pay no penalty.

  7. Oh boy, a time period where wind made sense not accounting for the overall costs and subsidies.

  8. What Figure 4 shows is that for the first six months, wind delivered LESS power in 2019 than in 2018. Not much to crow about.

    • That is a potentially serious drawback… Free lunches are few and far between and not really free.

  9. Somewhat cherry picked; we didn’t have a terribly cold winter – no real cold spells in the teens this year – but we did have a number of fronts which produce wind – AND as one can see in June nat gas picked up BECAUSE air conditioning use was ‘kicking in’ in the populace as ‘wind’ diminishes to ~16% in July when we have usually no fronts and lighter winds in summer.

    Coal is not as ‘used’ as it once was and nat gas use is up.

      • But – and you probably know this – the COST of new HV transmission lines to west Texas to bring back that ‘power’ is where the cost is.

        About 10 years back a new charge was approved by the PUC – the COST could be billed by the power transportation provider – Oncor for me – and that amounts to 3 to 4 cents per kWh nowadays. At 4 c per kWh that is almost 1/4 of the cost of the electricity.

        We USED TO pay the all-in cost (no separate Oncor charge, and our bills were _lower_), +15 year back …

        • I happen to get my power from one of those famous Texas rural electric co-ops. Three charges on the bill 1) energy charge which is .047 /kWh, 2) customer charge–basically your monthly membership “dues”–currently 22.50 for the coop I’m in, and 3) the PCRF charge (basically a fuel surcharge) which varies from month to month Was.022 back in Jan which is generally my highest bill, and was .015 on the May bill. My kWh usage ranges from a high of near 1400 to less than 500 per month. No charges I can see for transport network lines etc.

          As a separate comment–recently had to drive from my homestead to Denver Co. for a daughter’s wedding. Drove up there at night, and the number of blinking red lights was just amazing–all one could see. Return trip during the day, got to see the wind generator attached to each of those red lights –also impressive, and more being added daily it looks like. Not very attractive scenery though

          • re: John VC July 27, 2019 at 9:56 am

            John,

            Your story is typical of what I hear from others on electric co-ops in Texas about _lower_ rates than those of us depending on ‘retail’ electric companies and associated electric delivery companies such as ONCOR.

  10. In other news, Texas electric rates rose 1.8% last year.
    They can replace coal with wind. England has done it, but then they need natural gas and imported power from France to make up the shortfall. Also, it helped the UK that their electricity consummation has dropped quit a bit in the last decade. I don’t see that happening in Texas.
    I follow the UK power grid, since it is live on line. Today at about 9 pm local time there they were using a lot of energy for them at that time of day, and getting about 6% from wind. Zilch from solar at that time.
    I hope that the power companies in this country put their grids live on line so we can really see what is happening. The hype is misleading. Very misleading.

    • re: “I hope that the power companies in this country put their grids live on line so we can really see what is happening. The hype is misleading. Very misleading.”

      Already done in Tejas (Texas) via our state ‘power’ grid coordinator (ERCOT) :

      http://www.ercot.com/ and under “System Condition” (lower left corner, a drop-down box) or:

      http://www.ercot.com/content/cdr/html/real_time_system_conditions.html

      Other information is available on that main page, info used by the actual power (energy) producers as well, as Texas has a “de-regulated” energy market and things must be coordinated, scheduled, to accommodate the practical aspects of real-time electricity generation.

  11. Hi David, I have come across some of your articles in Quadrant and here. If you read this comment, I came across this article in the ABC and would be interested if you could turn your attention to it. https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2019-07-27/climate-change-denial-zombies-killed/11291724

    I’ve read it and think I’ve got most of the refutations down. But would be interested so see what other people with sharper minds may think. Standard ABC hubris, but hey

  12. Does disruption of wind flow cause anthropogenic climate change? It would seem to me yes, but no idea how to calculate the magnitude.

    I’m pretty sure any change in CO2 levels over Texas are not measurable. I wonder if they are over the corn fields of Iowa as we scavenge China’s waste product for free. Over to you OC)-2 satellite.

    • There is a disruption of the micro climate in the area around a grain elevator. It is likely there is a similar change around a windmill.

  13. so how would wind plus solar do against coal over the whole year? Being as those 2 seasonal resources complement each other?

    • Coal, used throughout the year, would be cheaper. Our rates have increased each year on account of we have a figurative ‘g u n’ held to our heads that makes us (the consumer) use a cockamamie wind scheme, as Texas is a deregulated power market. (Incentives, tax credits, etc. etc. make it cheap (“they earn a guaranteed profit”) for the producer of power, not the consumer of power.)

      It should be stated, some of the coal plants (years ago now) in Texas were not using the cleanest forms of coal though either – maybe Middleton can give a brief history on this (I don’t have the facts and figures or the timeline and the technical terms for the forms of coal at hand) – and that is why a shift to nat gas and wind has been made. Plus, as I understand it, today we are importing ‘cleaner’ coal to burn rather than using the dirtier forms near and at hand and in-state and close to the existing coal-fired plants.

      Correction, additions, welcome, as I am not an expert in this field and I’m going quite by memory at the moment.

    • Griff,

      Seasonal variability in wind and solar output was discussed for the CA market earlier in the week-

      https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/Witness%20Testimony_Cohen_07.24.19.pdf

      ….”As you can see, there are multiple weeks of average surplus above demand during the summer
      months but substantial deficits September through February.

      The consequence of this seasonal variation is that, even when California procures enough wind
      and solar output to meet total electricity demand on an annual average basis, roughly 27% of
      hours of the year cannot be served by wind and sun. This is shown in the “heat map” below,
      Figure 13, in which yellow, orange and red hours are unserved by variable wind and sun…”

    • “so how would wind plus solar do against coal over the whole year?”

      Solar can’t run a whole day.

  14. Last year the Oklahoma legislature voted to stop paying state subsidies for new Windmill Farms because the subsidies would have eventually bankrupted Oklahoma.

    So what is the situation with Texas in this regard?

    • Apart from Federal tax credits, wind farms get access to the transmission system that was built to exploit Texas’ wind resource and they may still get preferential treatment from ERCOT. I don’t know if they still get preferential treatment.

  15. OK, Let’s see Texas dump natural gas, coal and nuclear then. Also, wind wouldn’t be leading coal at any time if it weren’t for the Production Tax Credit and a concerted effort to delegitimize and disincentivize coal in particular.

  16. David Middleton,

    I have a bet for you. I’ve got any amount you want, up to $100, that says that by the end of 2022, there will be an entire year in which wind generates more electrical energy than coal, according to the ERCOT end of year fuel mix reports, e.g. like the one so far for 2019:

    http://www.ercot.com/content/wcm/lists/181766/IntGenbyFuel2019.xlsx

    That is, if in 2019, 2020, 2021, or 2022, wind generates more electrical energy than coal, per the ERCOT end-of-year fuel mix report, I win the bet, and whatever amount we agree on, up to $100. If wind does not generate more electrical energy than coal in any of those years, you win the bet, and whatever amount we agree on, up to $100.

    Ya feelin’ lucky?

  17. David:

    Thank you for your good observations.

    I do have to question this statement:
    “Texas is one of the few places where wind actually makes sense from a resource economics perspective.”

    In your resources economic calculation are you taking into account: 1) the ~100% auxiliary requirement for gas, 2) the requirement for significant transmission lines, 3) the requirement for SVCs, 4) etc.?

    I’d like to see the full calculations as to how wind energy in Texas makes economic sense.

    Then let’s do the same calculation for Gas (CC), and see how that compares.

    (BTW, studies have concluded that Gas (CC) by itself saves more CO2 than fully accounted Wind does.)

      • David:

        TY for your reply. As I’m sure you know , that chart is totally bogus.

        Wind can NOT be directly compared to coal as baseload, and any source (Brookings or otherwise) that says so, is either being dishonest, or is technically challenged.

        The only appropriate Wind entry on that graph would be Wind+Gas.

        I would still dispute that wind make economic sense in Texas — if ALL of wind energy’s costs are properly allocated (e.g. the three I mentioned).

        PS — what is your email?

        • I don’t really disagree with you… but the PTC, ITC, and Texas’s investment in transmission lines are part of reality. Whether they are justified or not, a business would be foolish to not take advantage of them. I’ll contact you with my email address. I went to your website, and mostly agree with it… I also saw an endorsement from Master Resource… 👍👍

          • re: “and Texas’s investment in transmission lines are part of reality.”

            Muddlebrain, the ratepayers are saddled with these costs.

            Are you blind to this or what? Comprehension issues Muddlebrain?

          • Ignorance may be your strong suit, but the transmission lines and their cost are reality.

            There are exactly two groups of people who pay for electricity generation infrastructure: 1) utility customers and 2) taxpayers. If we weren’t “saddled” with the costs, we wouldn’t have electricity.

            When our State government decided to support the build out of infrastructure to exploit our wind resource, natural gas was expensive and we were increasingly having to import it, new coal-fired power plants were nearly impossible to build due to air pollution regulations, and nuclear power plants were almost impossible to build due to the public’s irrational fear of radiation. They made what seemed like a logical decision at the time.

            The state also made smart policy decisions, according to the report. In 2005, Texas chose to get ahead of renewable energy development by creating Competitive Renewable Energy Zones, where transmission lines were extended to help support wind power development in isolated regions of the state.

            https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/How-Texas-blew-to-the-top-in-wind-power-12529917.php

            While the smartness of the policy decisions is debatable, they didn’t drive up the cost of electricity in Texas, like they did in the People’s Republic of California.

          • re: David Middleton July 28, 2019 at 2:38 pm

            There are exactly two groups of people who pay for electricity generation infrastructure: 1) utility customers and 2) taxpayers. If we weren’t “saddled” with the costs, we wouldn’t have electricity.

            ——————-

            Convenient re-write, re-organization (with a little “strawman” mixed in) of the facts; The point I have attempted to drive home to your brain is the fact that electric power “delivery charges” now encompass the costs of the HV transmission lines that are required to bring back the energy from WEST TEXAS WIND FAREMS to the LOAD CENTERS in the eastern half of the state.

            These ‘costs’ are charged to all customers (via the “delivery charge”), whether or not you specified ‘wind’ or ‘renewable’ energy on your retail electricity rate plan.

            This fact seems to continue to elude you, or, it is an inconvenient fact for your argument and position on these issues.

            .

          • The transmission costs have always been part of the bill… They’ve never been free.

            Maybe your conspiracy theory addled brain is simply incapable of grasping this…

            2008 Average Residential Electricity Rates
            California 13.81¢/kWh
            Texas 13.03¢/kWh

            2018 Average Residential Electricity Rates
            California 18.90¢/kWh
            Texas 11.39¢/kWh

            https://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/browser/#/topic/7?agg=0,1&geo=000000000204&endsec=e&linechart=ELEC.PRICE.TX-RES.A~~~ELEC.PRICE.CA-RES.A~~&columnchart=ELEC.PRICE.TX-RES.A&map=ELEC.PRICE.TX-RES.A&freq=A&start=2006&end=2018&chartindexed=0&ctype=linechart&ltype=pin&rtype=s&maptype=0&rse=0&pin=

      • Well said. For more than 70 years, power system planners have placed a high level of importance on diversity of supply (spread your eggs over many baskets). Variabilty of fuel cost, seasonal challenges (dried up hydro reservoirs, frozen coal piles), plant outages (e.g., nuclear), and evolving technology/economics all play a role. All out bets on solar/wind/storage is BAD public policy.

        • Well said, diversification seema to be a good strategy in the face of an uncertain future.

          I’ve yet to find any credible argument against the widespread use of rooftop solar PV, just as there doesn’t seem to be any credible plan to ever run *everything* on Earth on wind and solar.

          • Distributed (rooftop) solar has nothing to do with the diversification of utility company generation sources, which are, by definition, utility scale.

          • Right, and so what if increased distributed generation meant there was no longer any need for utility scale solar PV?

            There would be no less need for utility distribution networks and generation equipment, only a reduction in daytime fuel use. And a stronger financial incentive for storage and shifting usage time.

          • Usage time isn’t going to shift… And meaningful storage just doubles to cost per kWh.

          • Ok, it’ll have no effect. Time of Use rates don’t work, nothing works, it’s all just hopeless.

          • It’s not “hopeless”… It’s just that solar PV brings more problems to the grid than solutions. Serious carbon emission reductions can easily be achieved by natural gas-to-nuclear (N2N).

          • I noticed that your 2012 era duck curve prediction graph doesn’t match the 2019 California actual, so some of the more dire predictions seem pessimistic now in actual 2019. California does have a major ramp-up challenge / opportunity at day end, but 10GW of daytime solar / wind surely displace at least some fuel.

            I’ve also seen graphs showing that the price for wind and solar is higher where there’s more wind and solar, so it seems the only question is whether Texas has lowered rates because of cheap natural gas and increased wind power generation, or in spite of it. I can’t help thinking it would have saved some nat gas, even if the price was low to negative. Should be a good thing, unless it’s just flowing to flare when not needed for power.

          • Regarding the inane Duck Curve comment… The 2016 CA ISO Duck Curve is very similar to CA ISO’s 2012 projection in the 2018 NREL article.


            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_curve

            The more solar power added to the grid, the worse the problem gets…


            https://www.nrel.gov/news/program/2018/10-years-duck-curve.html

            One of the solutions suggested was to make more accurate estimates of distributed solar power to avoid deploying too much utility scale solar power.

          • They’re called Solar and Wind ‘farms’ for a reason. Sometimes you can’t sell the whole crop, and that creates an opportunity.

            The Wikipedia article mentions daytime vs evening price differentials. If it’s not enough of an economic signal for anyone to change when they make ice, electrolyze water, bake bread or grind and melt scrap metal, then no-one should care.

            Solar and wind are unpredictable… yeah, we know. If river flows were even and predictable we wouldn’t need dams.

            http://www.caiso.com/Documents/Wind_SolarReal-TimeDispatchCurtailmentReportJul30_2019.pdf

          • Demand for electricity varies throughout the day, but it does so in fairly predictable ways. It rises in the morning to a little hump before noon, levels out over midday, and then rises to a higher hump in the evening, when everyone gets home from work and turns on their TVs and stoves.

            https://www.vox.com/2016/2/10/10960848/solar-energy-duck-curve

            If you could convince people to just go straight to bed when they got home in the evening, then get up at 3 AM to eat dinner and watch TV, you could move the peak demand hump into the time of least demand. The fact that the price per kWh is already generally highest hasn’t cause that sort of lifestyle change is a pretty good indication nothing will.

            Peak demand. The peak demand for electricity is often a time of high price and/or stress. During this period, usually in the early evening, operators need more generating capacity–including more costly “peaking” units. Both day-ahead and long-term forecasts account for these peaks to ensure the assignment of adequate capacity.

            https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=830

          • It all depends on the amount of solar / wind penetration, the availability of interchange and the other generation alternatives. Not everyplace is California.

            What I see in Alberta today going into the Pool Price is:
            07:00 $32.67
            08:00 $32.65
            09:00 $32.88
            10:00 $33.26
            11:00 $43.96
            12:00 $103.96
            13:00 $118.95

            At 12:54 the System Marginal Price hit $449.94 per MWh. Not enough generating capacity or hydro, not enough in neighboring provinces / states, minimal solar installed (15 MW / 0.13%) and not windy.

            It’s normal here to see the price peak right in the middle of a normal day’s solar output curve, and drop to night-time price range right about the 5-6 PM solar drop-off.

            http://ets.aeso.ca/

            And your theory that the consumer price has little effect is hard to test, but probably you’re right, not much.

            Both high and low rates are in a range where there is little price elasticity & not even much awareness. I would certainly pay five cents an hour to run my flatscreen or $3.00 and hour to run an air conditioner., $500.00 per MWh. And Tesla doesn’t even bother to charge time of use rates on charging in California.

          • A public, SMUD, and private, SDG&E, utility in CA have implement default time of use rate programs for their residential customers.

            https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/energy-green/sd-fi-sdge-timeofuse-20190221-story.html

            https://www.utilitydive.com/news/smud-time-of-use-is-the-future-of-rate-design/397098/

            The over generation problem this June hit a record low for minimum Net load 5492 MW.

            http://www.caiso.com/Documents/MonthlyRenewablesPerformanceReport-Jun2019.html

            My e-7 time of use rate schedule from PG&E was eliminated back in early 2016. New PG&E solar customers are required to take a TOU rate schedule as part of their net metering interconnection contract.

          • Thank God, Texas isn’t that stupid. That said, all of the penalties haven’t altered the fact that demand peaks early in the evening.

            Just imagine how much worse this will be when the PRC forces all Californians to drive EV’s… 😆

  18. I’m a native Texan and have lived here almost 67 years. What I don’t see on that graph of electricity by fuel generation that should potentially be a big contributor is electricity from trash incineration. Instead of burying our trash in huge mounds that will soon be the tallest peaks near the big cities, we should be incinerating most of it to generate electricity, with proper air quality control equipment to minimize air quality impact.

    We also need to take away those state wind power subsidies that are a huge waste of tax payer money. I hate to think of how much money will be required to properly dispose of all those wind turbines after their useful lifetime which is not that far away … most likely more wasted tax payer dollars.

  19. I live in Texas and have worked on wind projects around Portland, Texas and on the King and Kleberg ranches. The issue with wind isn’t the total generation, it is the timing of the generation. I have been informed by the wind operators that all of the turbines in West Texas and nearly all of the South Texas turbines are unprofitable because they generate too much electricity onto the grid at night when no one needs it. All of that extra electricity has to be sinked to heat, and the turbine operators are charged by the grid operators for that service.

    I am going to guess that if you took all of that wasted generation off of the chart and left the wind generation that is actually used, wind generation would probably drop by 1/3 to 1/2.

    • The wind generation on the chart is what is delivered to customers. It doesn’t include excess generation not accepted by ERCOT. The biggest intermittency problem is the fact that the winds in West Texas are weakest from July through November.

    • Here’s an example of what you described…

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckdevore/2019/02/21/texas-taxpayers-pay-the-french-government-for-wind-power-and-then-pay-the-grid-to-take-it/#5bed98c546e9

      The problem in Georgetown is that their municipal utility signed a really stupid contract.

      Georgetown inked a 20-year deal for 144 megawatt-hours of capacity from the Spinning Spur 3 windfarm in West Texas. The challenge with wind power is that in most places in the country, the wind blows most at night, when the electricity isn’t needed as much. Chasing the 100% renewable claim led Georgetown to enter into a flat rate agreement with the French, paying the same for the unreliable power night or day, even if the market price was negative. Thus, on windy nights, when electricity demand is low, Georgetown often produces a surplus of power. Under its contract with EDF, Georgetown must buy the power and, because electricity must be consumed the moment it’s produced, the city has to sell the power onto the Texas grid.

      Without that contract, Spinning Spur 3 would have to shut in when there was no demand, even under optimal wind conditions.

  20. Wind = higher bills.
    My house in Houston is very energy efficient for various reasons.
    I seldom if ever use over 800 kwh per month.
    Last year I was able to sign up for a plan that cost a flat $27.80 per month as long as I never used more than 1000 kwh. That plan, despite more natural gas being available at the we’ll head, is no longer available. I see why now. Wind is effing up the grid and forcing up costs. ERCOT, like most bureaucracies, is run by lefty twits who believe climate extremism and don’t give a crap about the environment or protecting consumers.
    So the worldwide experience of oligarch wind subsidies bring paid for by higher electricity is true even in Texas, where we have no real need for wasteful unreliable wind.

    • Plans come and go… and you’re always free to switch providers when the plan terminates.

      The wind farms, already built, aren’t going away until the ends of their effective service lives end. The transmission lines coming from West Texas are already built. The major subsidies (ITC & PTC) are scheduled to phase out soon. Unless Congress extends them, wind will have to play on a more level playing field.

      The average electricity rate in Texas is lower than the national average, despite having the most wind generation, by a wide margin, and lower than it was in 2008.

        • Too bad _Jim won’t understand this…

          The state also made smart policy decisions, according to the report. In 2005, Texas chose to get ahead of renewable energy development by creating Competitive Renewable Energy Zones, where transmission lines were extended to help support wind power development in isolated regions of the state.

          https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/How-Texas-blew-to-the-top-in-wind-power-12529917.php

          While the smartness of the policy decisions is debatable, they didn’t drive up the cost of electricity in Texas, like they did in the People’s Republic of California.

          • David, I’m impressed. Your politeness to Jim is way beyond the norm. Certainly more than I would have accorded him.

            On a totally unrelated point, have you noted the total lack of reporting about the decline in Paris temperatures? My less than scientific link at Weather Underground for the site just north of the Isle de France shows temps around 80F for all but one day in the next 9.

          • Philosophically, I probably mostly agree with _Jim… It’s just that reality is what it is.

            I’d pay real money for a July “Paris heatwave” in Texas… 😎

          • Having lived 8 years in Phoenix, and now a few on S Padre, 80 degree highs in summer would bring out coats and gloves!

            And as that famous Texan liked to say, If Ifs and Buts were Candy and Nuts, what a Merry Christmas it would be. Spent over 10 years traveling to Washington trying to educate on how business made investment decisions. The lack of understanding is appalling. But as you note, we make decisions on how things are, and we expect them to be. How rational people would do things isn’t really a factor.

          • Yeah, it was only 97 here today in Marble Falls, Texas. Entirely normal weather for July.

          • Y’all have one of the few “worthwhile” solar farms in the Phoenix area… IIRC Gila Bend routinely exceeds a 40% capacity factor.

          • Muddlebrain, you’re still off base; all-in costs for electricity HAVE gone up in Texas. I’ve had a chance now to look at electric bills back in the 2010 – 2012 time frame, before the PUC approved the “delivery charge”.

            You appear to need to be ‘hauled before a magistrate’ in order to comprehend, understand then ‘believe’ this fact; Don’t tell me its raining when you’re peeing on my leg …

          • Our electricity and gas bills in Alberta are separated as well. I’m sure your bill has gone up, as you say, but the wholesale price of the electricity itself probably hasn’t.

            Electricity, coal, carrots, gravel, natural gas, water… all are cheap, it’s moving them safely and reliably that costs the money. Without the daytime savings from not paying transmission / distribution fees, rooftop solar PV in Alberta doesn’t make sense. I can’t see how utility scale solar PV can pay, either.

          • Jim’s confusion is due to electric utility deregulation in Texas in 2002. Prior to deregulation, he paid his bill to TXU (Texas Utilities) and its predecessors. He was paying for delivery back then; but TXU Electric Delivery was part of TXU. Since deregulation, his bill has been segregated: Provider and delivery service. TXU Electric Delivery was spun off as Oncor, the delivery service for the DFW area and much of North Texas. Part of his bill goes to Oncor and the other part goes to the provider: TXU, Reliant or anyone of a number of companies. We get to choose our provider; but everyone in the area gets Oncor. The providers advertise their “electricity charge” and then in fine print, the Oncor and other charges. It can be very confusing to compare plans.

            Some areas of Texas, that have municipal co-ops, were not deregulated. If you live in Garland, a Dallas suburb, you’re blessed with Garland Power & Light… which owns some power plants and manages its own transmission lines. GP&L’s rates are about in the middle of the pack of Oncor service area providers.

            Jim thinks that the Oncor portion of his bill was added on to pay for the transmission lines from wind farms in West Texas to places like Dallas. The State legislature approved this in 2005. While it’s impossible to determine how his electricity rates have changed since 2005, the State average rate, including delivery has fallen since 2006… despite the explosion of wind power and the build out of the transmission lines.

            Would our electricity bills be lower without deregulation and/or wind power? Maybe. But deregulation and wind power in Texas are part of reality.

          • Interesting, if you take that graph and show the last 10 years’ retail sales of electricity in MM KWh, you see that California’s total usage has decreased slightly, while Texas’ usage has increased by 20%.

            So on average, retail electricity users in both states are paying out about 20% more dollars for electricity. I blame behind-the-meter rooftop solar PV only benefitting the people who have it. That’s how the economics work out. At an individual homeowner level, there’s a benefit to buying energy-saving / microgeneration technology, but at a macro level, not everyone gets a full share of the benefit.

  21. Well said. For more than 70 years, power system planners have placed a high level of importance on diversity of supply (spread your eggs over many baskets). Variabilty of fuel cost, seasonal challenges (dried up hydro reservoirs, frozen coal piles), plant outages (e.g., nuclear), and evolving technology/economics all play a role. All out bets on solar/wind/storage is BAD public policy.

  22. Has CNN no shame . What happened ?
    It must be climate change . As the earth heats CNN ratings fall .

  23. The little-reported aspect of operating a power ‘grid’ system is the Operations Message “log” showing events such as generator trips, system power-reserve margin shortfalls, etc. which can occur throughout the day.

    Below is an excerpt from the Texas “ERCOT” (Texas’ electric system coordinator) Operations Message log showing some events which occurred the last few hot days here in late July showing where operating reserves began to run short in the afternoons when electric power demand ramps up here in Texas due to temps at and above ~95 degrees, and sometimes owing to generator trips –OR– shortages in wind output (wind data not shown here; that is available via other sources).

    Without further adieu here are key events the last few days (I also wanted to ‘park’ these parsed events somewhere for later access):

    —————-

    Jul 30 2019 17:45:21 CST ERCOT has cancelled the following notice: ERCOT is issuing an Advisory due to Physical Responsive Capability being below 3000 MW Advisory Cancelled

    Jul 30 2019 13:42:33 CST Physical Responsive Capability < 3000 MW: ERCOT is issuing an Advisory due to Physical Responsive Capability being below 3000 MW Advisory Active

    Jul 30 2019 00:07:14 CST On 07/29/2019, a sudden loss of generation occurred at 17:59 totaling 817.34 MW. Frequency declined to 59.834 Hz, ERCOT load was 64,958 MW. Operational Information Active

    —————-

    Jul 29 2019 18:05:07 CST ERCOT Responsive Reserve Has Been Recalled Operational Information Cancelled

    Jul 29 2019 17:59:19 CST ERCOT Responsive Reserve Has Been Deployed Operational Information Active

    —————-

    Jul 28 2019 19:15:38 CST ERCOT has cancelled the following notice: ERCOT is issuing an Advisory due to Physical Responsive Capability being below 3000 MW Advisory Cancelled

    Jul 28 2019 16:46:09 CST Physical Responsive Capability < 3000 MW: ERCOT is issuing an Advisory due to Physical Responsive Capability being below 3000 MW Advisory Active

    —————-

    Jul 27 2019 17:59:07 CST ERCOT has cancelled the following notice: ERCOT is issuing an Advisory due to Physical Responsive Capability being below 3000 MW Advisory Cancelled

    Jul 27 2019 15:56:10 CST Physical Responsive Capability < 3000 MW: ERCOT is issuing an Advisory due to Physical Responsive Capability being below 3000 MW Advisory Active

    —————–

    Jul 26 2019 17:16:12 CST ERCOT has cancelled the following notice: ERCOT is issuing an Advisory due to Physical Responsive Capability being below 3000 MW Advisory Cancelled

    Jul 26 2019 15:37:39 CST Physical Responsive Capability < 3000 MW: ERCOT is issuing an Advisory due to Physical Responsive Capability being below 3000 MW Advisory Active

    —————–

    Jul 26 2019 08:46:09 CST The Daily RSASM for Friday, July 26, 2019 will not be occurring due to zero participating QSEs. Operational Information Active

    Jul 26 2019 00:20:43 CST No sudden loss of generation greater than 450 MW occurred on July 25, 2019 Operational Information Active

    —————–

    Jul 25 2019 17:18:44 CST ERCOT has cancelled the following notice: ERCOT is issuing an Advisory due to Physical Responsive Capability being below 3000 MW Advisory Cancelled

    Jul 25 2019 15:03:30 CST Physical Responsive Capability < 3000 MW: ERCOT is issuing an Advisory due to Physical Responsive Capability being below 3000 MW Advisory Active

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    Jul 24 2019 00:48:06 CST On 07/23/19, a sudden loss of generation occurred at 09:10 totaling 621 MW. Frequency declined to 59.887 Hz, ERCOT load was 46, 735 MW. Another sudden loss of generation occurred at 13 48 totaling 469 MW. Frequency declined to 59.910 Hz, ERCOT load was 57, 249 MW. Operational Information Active

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    Jul 23 2019 09:15:02 CST ERCOT Responsive Reserve Has Been Recalled Operational Information Cancelled

    Jul 23 2019 09:11:02 CST ERCOT Responsive Reserve Has Been Deployed Operational Information Active

    Jul 23 2019 08:47:35 CST The Daily RSASM for Tuesday July 23, 2019 will not be occurring due to zero participating QSEs. Operational Information Active

    Jul 23 2019 04:24:47 CST On 07/22/2019, a sudden loss of generation occurred at 10:35 totaling 737 MW. Frequency declined to 59.877Hz, ERCOT load was 55, 002 MW. Operational Information Active

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    The webpage from which these were extracted: http://www.ercot.com/services/comm/mkt_notices/opsmessages

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